Nphet meet to discuss if new Covid-19 measures are needed

Nphet meet to discuss if new Covid-19 measures are needed

With only weeks to go until Christmas, health officials are meeting to discuss whether any new measures are needed to curb the spread of Covid-19. Picture Denis Minihane.

The latest Covid-19 situation facing Ireland will be discussed when the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) meets on Thursday.

With only weeks to go until Christmas, health officials are meeting to discuss whether any new measures are needed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Ministers have sounded a note of cautious optimism in recent days that rates of Covid-19 in Ireland have stabilised, despite the identification of the new Omicron variant in Ireland on Wednesday,.

It is expected that health officials will discuss whether new measures for the hospitality sector are needed, ahead of the festive season.

According to the latest figures, 117 patients with Covid-19 remain in intensive care.

"For at least the next two weeks, if we can all make a concerted effort to reduce our contacts, then I am hopeful that we can make a real difference to incidence of disease in Ireland," chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said on Wednesday.

Earlier, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly put forward legislation to permit the reintroduction of hotel quarantine if deemed necessary.

"The threat of the emergence of variants of the disease has not gone away," Mr Donnelly told the Dail.

"It strikes a fair and proportionate balance between the protection of public health and the common good in the situation we face on the one hand, and the restrictions of individual rights on the other."

He said that the legislation puts the Government in a "better position to react quickly".

Addressing a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party on Wednesday, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said that the situation is "stable or improving slightly".

He said the country is doing "substantially better" than Nphet's optimistic models for case numbers, hospital admissions and deaths.

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